Alternative Vaccine Plans

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Puppies
Remember, young puppies also have young immune systems and are susceptible to contagious diseases, do your best to keep them away from a lot of exposure until their immune system gets older and more effective. This means limited trips to the park or walks in the neighborhood. It is important to socialize your puppy but do not expose her/him to dogs or places that might be highly contagious.

Puppies over eight weeks of age should receive the combination Distemper/Hepatitis/Parvo (DHP) vaccination three to four weeks apart until fifteen to sixteen weeks of age.

The rabies* vaccination can be given as early as twelve weeks old but I prefer to vaccinate between four to six months of age. (The county requires that it be given by four months of age+) The first rabies vaccination given is a one year vaccine.

Adult dogs
One year after the last puppy DHP vaccine your dog should receive a 3 year DHP vaccination. Then one month, or more, later a three year rabies vaccine can be given.

Dogs older than one year, who are up to date on their vaccinations, can receive a DHP vaccine every three years or we can run titers (blood antibody levels) to determine his/her immunity and vaccinate as needed. We can discuss, and decide together, the pros and cons of both options.

A Rabies vaccination will need to be given every three years unless it is demonstrated that your pet has a serious illness directly related to vaccination(s) at which point a one year medical exemption can be issued. Both Hillsborough and Pasco counties allow medical exemptions for county licenses. An antibody titer can be run done to determine the level of protection but this test is not recognized by the county in lieu of vaccination.

Other Vaccines
I generally do not recommend the bordatella (kennel cough) vaccination unless your pet is going to be at a facility that requires it (boarding kennel, groomers, show circuit or training facility). (There is a homeopathic nosode that may give a temporary level of protection.)
I recommend the K9 Influenza, Corona virus, Leptospirosis, and Lyme vaccinations ONLY for an animal that will be at high risk of exposure. We can discuss your pet’s risk factors and make this decision together.  I do not, at this point, suggest the Giardia or Ringworm vaccines.

Other important info
I do suggest physical exams, heartworm tests and fecal tests be done on a yearly basis and that heartworm prevention be given on a monthly basis. I recommend the monthly preventatives Heartgard Plus, Interceptor or Advantage Multi. I do not trust Revolution to protect against intestinal parasites nor do I trust the homeopathic heartworm nosode to protect against heartworm infection.

Remember, the best protection is a HEALTHY IMMUNE SYSTEM and minimal exposure to viruses, either via vaccines or by natural exposure. High quality nutrition, toxin free air and water, exercise and a loving home environment are essential components of a healthy life.    

*Homeopathic Lyssin 30C is given to any patient receiving a rabies vaccine to ‘protect’ them from the potential harm that homeopathic theory believes the rabies vaccine can cause.  (Or constitutional homeopathic treatment can be started after vaccines are stopped.)
+ Remember, because rabies is a potential threat to human health, and therefore can be a legal issue, we need to follow acceptable protocol as closely as possible.

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Kittens
Remember, young kittens also have young immune systems and are susceptible to contagious diseases. Do your best to keep them away from a lot of exposure until their immune system gets older and more effective. This means limited trips to visit kitty friends. It is important to socialize your kitten but do not expose him/her to cats or places that might be highly contagious.

Kittens over 8 weeks of age are given a FVRCP vaccination (feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and panleukopenia; i.e. the ‘distemper’ shot). This vaccination is then repeated every 3 to 4 weeks; the last vaccination should be when the kitten is 15 to 16 weeks of age.

Kittens can be given a one year rabies* vaccination at 3 months of age, but I prefer to wait until they are at least 4 months old. The county requires that the rabies vaccination be given by four months old+.    This first rabies vaccination is a one year vaccine.

I prefer for rabies and FVRCP vaccinations to be given separately, at least one month apart.

Unless your kitten will be at risk I do not recommend the vaccines for chlamydia (a respiratory virus), feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), feline leukemia (Feleuk) or feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). We can discuss your kitten’s risk factors and make a decision together.

Cats
One year after the kitten vaccines your cat should receive the 3 year FVRCP vaccine, then  a three year rabies* vaccine one month or more after.  

I then suggest the FVRCP vaccination be given at age 4 and at most every 3 years. Antibody levels (titers) can be done to determine when your cat would benefit from a booster. In totally inside cats with no exposure potential booster FVRCP vaccinations may be given more infrequently. The protection against the respiratory aspect seems to decrease in three to four years.  

The rabies vaccination should be given every 3 years+. For those individuals who have shown adverse reactions to vaccines a medical exemption can be issued. An antibody titer can be done to determine the level of protection against rabies but this test is not recognized by the county in lieu of vaccination.

I do suggest physical exams and fecal tests be done on a yearly basis. For outside cats, a Feleuk/FIV/heartworm test should be part of their annual assessment.

Heartworm prevention
Although it isn’t widely publicized, cats need heartworm prevention, even indoor cats. There are several options available and we can discuss which one meets your needs±

Remember, the best protection is a HEALTHY IMMUNE SYSTEM.  High quality nutrition, toxin free air and water, exercise and a loving home environment are essential components of a healthy life.    

*Homeopathic Lyssin 30c is given to any patient receiving a rabies vaccine to ‘protect’ the pet from the potential harm that homeopathic theory believes that rabies vaccine can cause. Constitutional homeopathic treatment can be started after vaccines are stopped.
+Remember, because rabies is a potential threat to human health, and therefore can be a legal issue, we need to follow acceptable protocol as closely as possible.
±Due to their higher metabolic rate the dosage of heartworm prevention for cats is different than that of dogs so if you have both cats and dogs it’s not recommended that they share heartworm prevention.